As an insurance agent, you've got limited time to spend on landing new customers—which means you need a quick and easy way to find leads so you can invest more time in closing them.
One solution? Buying insurance leads.
Paid insurance leads are potential clients whose contact info you get by paying someone for it. That can give your agency access to more prospects than you can find on your own, helping you spend more time making sales than looking for clients.
But there are important considerations to keep in mind before you start forking over your cash for leads. Let's take a look at how paid leads work, the benefits and downsides of working with lead providers, how to buy leads, and best practices for maximizing your results.
How Do Paid Insurance Leads Work?
Paid leads are typically generated by lead providers (also known as lead vendors), which are businesses that charge to collect and evaluate prospects. These lead providers may sell one or more types of insurance leads to agents.
Types of Insurance Leads
- Aged leads: Generally 30, 60, or 90 days old—though some might be even older. Typically, these leads are from prospects who submitted a request for information (or otherwise got in touch with an insurance agency or lead vendor) but never seemingly converted.
- Exclusive leads: Only sold to you or your agency. These leads are generally warm (or, in some cases, even hot) and include contact details for high-quality prospects that are actively interested in purchasing an insurance policy.
- Shared leads/non-exclusive leads: Other insurance agents and agencies also have access to these leads. With shared leads, you might need to compete to close the deal—which makes it important to act fast.
- Live transfer leads: Targeted leads (based on parameters you define, like location, interest in specific insurance products, and demographics) who contact a call center when they're ready to get coverage. From there, the call center takes on the responsibility of qualifying the lead to determine if the prospect is genuine; if so, the center transfers the prospect to you— where you then get the opportunity to close the sale.
- Real-time leads: Organic leads that are contacted at the same time they're generated—usually through a third-party partner, like an insurance policy comparison website. In these cases, a prospect might fill out a form with the expectation of receiving a response right away. As a result, real-time leads are likely to convert, but they demand your immediate attention.
- Search leads: Generated via search engine optimization (SEO)—a process in which your website uses specific keywords to drive qualified traffic—and/or paid search campaigns (in which you pay to advertise your agency in search results). Search leads can be cold or warm, though they're often rate shopping or looking for advice.
Pros and Cons of Buying Insurance Leads
Paying for leads can be an effective way to grow your book of business and drive revenue, but there are some considerations to keep in mind before you partner with a vendor. Here are the top pros and cons of buying leads:
- Save you time: Looking for new customers and clients can be time-consuming. Paying for leads gives you access to as many potential clients as you want (and can afford)—which frees up your time to focus on selling.
- Access to people ready to purchase: Cold leads can take time to nurture and guide through your sales funnel—if they convert at all. Buying leads can give you access to warm—or even hot—leads who are ready (or nearly ready) to purchase coverage.
- Help you get established: Getting started as a new insurance agent can be challenging. Purchasing leads can introduce you to your first prospects, helping you learn how to close sales and establish your book of business.
- Can be low-quality: Not all lead providers—or leads themselves—are worth what you pay for them. High-quality leads can be difficult to find if you don't set the right criteria, work with reputable vendors, or pursue the right kind of leads.
- Costly: Paid leads are an upfront cost without a guaranteed return on investment. It might be some time before you break even and start to see a profit from any leads you've purchased.
- May include bad information: Even seemingly good batches of leads can include bad, false, or incorrect information. This can happen if a potential customer uses fake information to fill out a form, moves shortly after submitting their information, or accidentally provides incorrect information to the lead vendor.
How Much Do Insurance Leads Usually Cost?
Paid leads vary in cost depending on the type:
- Aged leads tend to be less expensive because the prospect's information or phone number might be out-of-date, or the prospect might have purchased coverage from another agency.
- Shared leads can vary in price but are less expensive than exclusive leads where you're not competing with any other agencies.
- Leads from SEO efforts can also vary in price based on your approach and overall strategy.
- Exclusive leads are typically expensive because they're generated just for you and based on your specific criteria.
- Live transfer leads typically have high close rates, which means these are some of the most expensive leads.
- Real-time leads can vary in price depending on your preferences, processes, and system, though they typically cost more than aged leads.
The cost of leads can also vary based on your specific criteria and the type of coverage you're selling (for example, life insurance leads might cost more than homeowners insurance leads—or vice versa).
Can You Get Insurance Leads for Free?
You don't always have to break the bank for premium leads. Believe it or not, you can find them for free in certain places. Take the California State License Board (CSLB), for instance. They offer a free Comprehensive List of California Licensed Contractors in California. This would be great for workers' comp agents.
Once they snag that list, they'll have all the key info at their fingertips, like when the contractor's workers' comp policy expires and all the contact details they need to get in touch.
Quick mention: Hourly is an expert in areas such as construction.
Maybe you're not in California, but chances are your state has something similar—so take a look before shelling out money for leads.
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How to Buy Insurance Leads
So how does the whole process work? Here's a step-by-step guide so you can find the best leads for your agency.
Step 1: Figure out What Type of Lead you Want
First, nail down which types of leads you're looking for. How? By evaluating your budget, preferences, and existing clientele. For example, a new insurance agent—with limited income and a sales quota to hit—might want to purchase aged leads, which are as much as 90 days old and generally more affordable.
On the flip side, an established life insurance agent might want to focus on buying exclusive life insurance leads. While more expensive, these types of leads are in line with their target customer.
Step 2: Filter Based on Important Criteria
From there, instruct your lead provider to filter leads based on certain criteria. For example, if you only represent workers' compensation insurance companies, you don't want to end up paying for auto insurance leads.
Similarly, if you primarily sell term life insurance, you might want to buy leads that belong to a very specific age group (like younger prospects vs. older individuals who may not be interested in term life policies).
Some vendors allow you to set up your criteria in their app or software. Other providers might assign you a sales rep or account executive who works with you to give you options for finding and buying leads.
In some cases, they might even allow you to bid on certain warm or live/real-time leads, giving you a potential edge against the competition (which is especially important when you consider that 78% of customers buy from the first responder).
Step 3. Flex Those Sales Muscles
After you set up your criteria and identify the leads you want to pursue, your lead vendor will generate and send over your leads. Then it's your responsibility to flex your sales muscles and convert those leads into clients!
Before you start buying insurance leads, you need to identify the types that best fit your needs and budget.
Where To Buy Insurance Leads
It's important to work with the right vendor to get the best return on investment for any leads you buy. But how do you choose the best provider for you and your agency?
Lead generators are companies that find prospects through organic marketing efforts, like advertising, email marketing, and SEO.
These companies can either be dedicated entirely to lead generation or generate leads while doing other types of business (like selling a car or underwriting a loan).
Lead generators usually provide qualified leads (like prospects comparing different insurance quotes), which means these leads usually result in high conversion rates—increasing revenue and sales for your agency.
- Car dealerships that partner with you to offer auto insurance to new customers
- Banks and lenders who send you leads for new homebuyers
- Accountants, human resource firms, and other service providers who send you leads for businesses looking to offer group health insurance to their employees
- Websites that collect information from prospects to provide insurance quotes
- Dedicated vendors that specialize in generating leads for clients
Many lead generators provide (or can provide) leads to you in real-time or on-demand (for example, once per week or month, depending on your needs), helping you reach leads when they're most ready to talk (and, ideally, buy!).
Lead aggregators are companies that collect leads from a variety of generators and sources—and then assemble them into lead lists.
These lists of leads are then offered for sale to different insurance businesses and clients based on set parameters and preferences. For example, you could request a list of leads based on demographics, insurance needs, or time to renewal, letting you target the exact type of sales you want to make.
Typically, these leads aren't provided in real-time and may or may not be shared with other businesses. The upside? Working with lead aggregators is generally more affordable than purchasing from lead generators, letting you buy in bulk—though, potentially, with a lower ROI.
Best Practices for Buying Insurance Leads
Want to make the most of your paid leads? Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Create a Lead Generation Strategy
To make the most of paid leads, you need to figure out how they fit into your overall sales process—and then develop your strategy accordingly.
For example, if your agency website is pulling in multiple qualified leads per day, you might not need to buy leads at all; instead, you'd want to focus your efforts on closing the leads that are already coming your way.
On the other hand, if you're introducing new insurance products that your existing clients won't be interested in, paying for leads can give you a head start with new clientele.
Determine the Right Type of Leads for Your Agency
This can help you make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Dial in on what category of leads you want to purchase—and which type of vendors to buy them from.
For example, workers' comp leads might be sold for a different price than homeowners insurance leads—and if you don't sell homeowners insurance, ending up with a list of prospects looking for those policies is a waste of your money.
In the same vein, a vendor that evaluates your leads beforehand can help you connect with prospects that are ready to buy.
Set Up a Lead-Tracking Strategy
How do you measure the performance of purchased leads? By setting up a lead-tracking strategy. Tracking your leads can help you determine if the leads you're paying for are actually worth it—and if you and your agents are using them properly.
What you actually track will depend on your specific strategy, but can (and should) include:
- How many leads you purchased
- How many leads you connected with
- The number of leads that resulted in a quote
- The percentage of leads that converted (the conversion rate)
- How many follow-ups were needed to close the lead
If you're unhappy with the results, you can use your data to determine if there are any flaws in the process. For example, you might be purchasing too few leads or working with a bad vendor—or your agents might be taking too long to contact prospects.
Follow Up on Leads
Buying a lead is only good if you intend to act on it. And that means following up.
When you first buy leads, add them to your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Input the date you generated or purchased the lead, the prospect's contact details, the type of insurance they're looking for, and any other relevant information. And most importantly, include details from each attempt to connect with the prospect.
Why? 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes—and yet 48% of salespeople never bother to even make a single follow-up with a prospect.
Using a CRM can make sure you—and your agents—are giving each lead the right amount of attention.
Give Your Book of Business a Boost
As an insurance agent and small business owner, you know that investing in your business can help it grow.
And buying insurance leads can be an effective way to increase your book of business and pull in additional revenue.
But for paid leads to be an effective part of your insurance marketing strategy, you need to work with reputable vendors, buy the right type of leads for your agency, and follow up with prospects—quickly!—to achieve high conversion rates and continued success.
Are buying leads worth it?
Paying for insurance leads can be worth it if you put in time and effort to convert those prospects into new clients.
You also need to make sure you're working with a reputable vendor who gives you options for identifying the leads you want.
And to avoid paying for any duds, you should only work with providers who'll evaluate leads on your behalf before you pay for them—or reimburse you for any bad leads that are included in your purchase.
How do I get insurance leads to come to me?
One of the most effective ways of getting insurance leads to come to you is through referrals. You can ask your current clients to refer new business to you—and even incentivize them to do so by offering discounts, promotions, and other bonuses for each successful lead.
You can also partner with other businesses in your community—like banks and dealerships—to create a referral program that sends qualified leads your way.
Is it normal to buy leads in insurance?
It's normal for insurance companies and agencies to buy leads as part of an overall marketing effort. That said, when you buy leads—and how often—depends on your specific approach.
For example, new agents might rely on paid leads to drum up some initial business. Agents with a larger book of business might buy leads when they have availability to take on a few new clients.
Others might rely entirely on referrals and social media and never spend a dime on paid leads. There's no one-size-fits-all approach; it all depends on your strategy, resources, and what ultimately works best for you and your agency.